SCI Scholar, James Adams, Presents his End of Year Report

For over thirty years, SCI has supported and recognised the excellence of early career people, by aiding their studies in the form of an SCI Scholarship.

Since 1985, over 68 scholarships have been awarded which have not only given the recipients financial assistance, but have enabled them to broaden their network as well as strengthen their skills and knowledge. SCI Scholars receive access to publishing and mentoring opportunities and are given a platform to present their work amongst esteemed scientists and industrialists, thus raising their profile within the scientific community. In the past eight years alone, SCI has generously bequeathed over £115,000 of its charitable funds to SCI Scholars and the scientists of the future.

James Adams was awarded an SCI Scholarship in 2015. At the end of their first year, SCI Scholars present an end of year report to SCI. Read on to find out more about what James has done in his first year as an SCI Scholar.

‘My research is focussed on the development of selective phosphatase inhibitors. Significant progress has been made on this work, notably the development of an NMR based assay, this together with advances in structural and computational approaches for the identification of new binding sites, mean the project is in a good position for demonstration of the feasibility of our approach in targeting these newly identified sites to access selectivity.

‘A requirement of the BBSRC DTP program, which I am part of, is a 3 month professional internship placement, in a field unrelated to the PhD. I was successful in securing a placement in Hawaii that focused on the conservation of endangered native Hawaiian plants, many of which are used in native Hawaiian medicine.

‘Nature is one of the best sources of potent biologically active molecules. It is important not only to the environment but also our future survival that these ecosystems are understood, investigated and maintained.

‘Through undertaking this placement, I have had the opportunity to make contacts with experts in the fields of botany, conservation and native medicine. I hope to be able to work at the forefront of this, working on conservation, the isolation of new natural products along with their testing and development into drugs. The funding provided through the SCI Scholarship has helped to facilitate my undertaking of this placement.

‘My first interaction with the SCI community was at the SCI College of Scholar’s day. This provided a unique networking experience, affording me the opportunity to meet and interact with a diverse group of scientists. A further advantage to the Scholar’s day was the presence of not only academics, students and previous SCI Scholars but also representatives from industry. This mix of professionals highlighted the many career pathways open to me both as a chemist and an SCI member.

‘I have managed to optimise the expression and purification of my target protein, further to this I have co-crystallised this in numerous conditions with compounds. My imminent work will be focused on the optimisation of these crystals and subsequent structure determination.

‘This will be the first example of an inhibitor in complex with our target of interest. This will be followed by synthesis of subsequent iterations of compounds and their testing.

‘I would like to thank SCI for this Scholarship and their continued support in these early stages of my career.’

James Adams
SCI Scholar 2015-17

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